Lancashire Police inspector pledges 'increased patrols' for Cleveleys and Anchorsholme amid antisocial behaviour issues
A spate of antisocial behaviour incidents in Cleveleys and Anchorsholme has prompted police to increase the number of officers on patrol.
Residents were also urged by a top cop to report all crimes directly to police - and not just to social media.
It comes after numerous social media posts in recent weeks brought light to various antisocial behaviour (ASB) incidents in both Cleveleys and Anchorsholme, particularly on beaches and in parks.
Following a post last week complaining about broken glass strewn all over Anchorsholme Park's football pitches - allegedly by youths - a Wyre councillor was reprimanded for his response.
Coun David Walmsley is currently under investigation by Wyre Council for commenting "club them" during a discussion online about unruly youngsters.
The relaunch of the Jubilee Park pub on North Promenade in Cleveleys was also impacted by yobbery recently, as smashed windows a week before its reopening date put it in jeopardy.
The pub, which was taken over in June by former hoteliers Michael and Alison Reynolds, had been left empty since the previous tenant moved out when lockdown began.
It was due to reopen on August 3, but Michael was concerned the potential six-week wait for new glass panes could force a postponement.
Cleveleys councillor Rob Fail said residents had been reporting antisocial behaviour incidents to him, but did not feel issues could be "resolved overnight."
He added that the summer holidays and a "lack of places to go" for youngsters could be a contributing factor leading to potential problems.
Coun Fail said: "A number of residents have raised concerns about the recent spate of antisocial behaviour. It may be that some of what we are seeing is a temporary ‘Covid issue’ resulting from loss of schooling and lack of places to go.
"It’s a complex issue that requires improvements in education and support for families if we are to tackle the root causes, but a decade of cuts has certainly made matters worse. Nationwide 700 youth clubs have shut, over 600 police stations closed, and crucially we’ve lost over 20,000 police officers.
"There’s no excuse for it, but I’m not surprised we are seeing more antisocial behaviour. You reap what you sow and the 60 per cent cuts in funding of councils has unquestionably had a detrimental impact. Cuts require prioritisation of service provision and in 2013 Wyre’s Tory Council decided to take a huge risk by ceasing its part funding of 11 Police Community Support Officers across Wyre. Cuts have consequences, and one of these is that our streets are less safe.
"No one single thing will resolve this overnight. Yes, we need a police presence, but that can’t just be a one-off where resources are shifted around, thereby creating a problem elsewhere.
"We need the reintroduction of permanent community policing."
Wyre Council was also approached for a comment.
In Anchorsholme, reports of large groups of youths gathering in Anchorsholme Park and on the beach have also been circulating on social media.
But Anchorsholme councillor Paul Galley said he was worried using platforms such as Facebook to share anecdotes of ASB could exacerbate negativity towards youngsters.
He said: "The vast majority of kids and residents of Anchorsholme are great. My concern is sometimes social media highlights the bad and not all the great things that the people of all ages are doing in our community."
Coun Galley and Bispham councillor Paul Wilshaw have committed to a new free sports scheme with Active Blackpool, starting on Friday July 30.
It is hoped the free basketball and football lessons in both Anchorsholme and East Pines Parks would build children's confidence, and provide them with something productive to do with their time during the summer holidays.
Lancashire Police told The Gazette the force had been receiving an increase in ASB reports in both Cleveleys and Anchorsholme, but some incidents were going unreported - except when it came to social media.
Officers urged residents to report crimes to them directly, before taking to Facebook to share their concerns.
The force said it would pledge more officers on patrol in affected areas going forward, in a bid to retain safety in communities.
Insp Martin Wyatt of Lancashire Police said: “The term ‘antisocial behaviour’ covers a range of offences including, but not limited to, vandalism, hate crime, fireworks misuse, hoax calls and alcohol or drugs being used or dealt in the street. It also includes reports of street drinking and begging.
“It can involve harm to an individual, to the wider community or to the environment, and can leave victims feeling harassed, alarmed or distressed.
“We understand this can have a profound impact on victims and how safe they feel in their neighbourhood and we are committed to tackling this type of crime.
“There has been an increase in large groups gathering in the areas of Anchorsholme Park and Cleveleys. We understand a number of incidents have been reported locally, including on social media and it is vital you tell us so we know about it. Without the report, we can’t do anything. I would urge anyone who has been the victim of a crime to call us immediately.
“Going forwards we are going to work together in putting dedicated anti-social behaviour resources into the area at key times. You should also see more police visibility, including increased patrols, in the coming days and weeks.
“We won’t tolerate criminality. We won’t hesitate to intervene if we believe any criminal offence has or is going to take place.
“We’d urge people to call us on 101 if they see anything they are concerned about, including any anti-social behaviour or significant gatherings. You can also report online at doitonline.lancashire.police.uk.”